AniManga Clash is a particularly difficult series for me to write for since I have to either watch the anime alongside the manga or have remembered enough points about whichever I saw/read first to be able to write a good comparison. I figured a good middleground for retroactive entries would be to check out the manga versions of anime I’ve watched several years in the past and at least give my bare bones thoughts on what I remembered to be the differences between the two and my experiences with both.
Because of this, while reading, please remember that it’s been a decade or so since I’ve watched the series and I might not get all my facts straight. Feel free to correct me, but these are my feelings out the gate.
First on the list was 11Eyes, because the alphabet. If you’ve read my 11Eyes review or my Salty Anime Challenge entries, you can probably guess that I was less than enthused to check out the manga. Being fair, the anime is not based on the manga. They’re both separate adaptations of the visual novel (which is an h-game, fair warning.) However, since I’ve never played the VN and only have sparse knowledge gathered from the Wiki, I’ll avoid talking about it.
For those who haven’t read either of those posts, let me chalk up the 11Eyes anime to being pretty decent barring two things; 1) The ending was insanely confusing and a massive cop-out. 2) The character of Yuka was beyond unlikable and one of the most psychotic jealous bitches I’ve ever seen in anime.
Nonetheless, I decided to give the manga a fair shake anyway because, let’s be real, it’s not like they could make it or Yuka even worse.
I was right.
A little too right.
Yuka is 1000000000000% less irritating in the manga than she is in the anime.
….I mean…..she’s insanely boring, and somehow even more useless in the manga, but she’s grade-A certified not-bitch.
She’s not even Kakeru’s love interest, really. She’s more like a sister stand-in for Kukuri.
She doesn’t get jealous of his and Misuzu’s relationship, she doesn’t go completely off her rocker, she doesn’t act like she doesn’t care about the other fragments (in fact, in one of her few scenes where she’s actually kinda doing something I think, she’s vehement in saving them) she doesn’t try to murder/maim Misuzu by putting a razor blade in her tea and she doesn’t willfully free the main villain for absolutely no reason.
Manga!Yuka…….well…..she saves Kakeru with her powers once, and they never even explore what her powers are. Then she’s unconscious for a few chapters…..then she gets absorbed by Liselotte…..the end.
From what I know of the VN, which is little, but there are various ends and paths to take, the anime is, sadly, closer to the canon rendition, but even though manga!Yuka is more boring, I’d take her over anime!Yuka any day.
I believe they were trying to make her character have layers, which they succeeded in more than the manga, but also, ultimately, make her someone you sympathize with and feel bad for considering all she had in the world was Kakeru. She was desperately trying to make sure he never left her, but she went WAY too far with it.
It’s near impossible to sympathize with the feelings of a lonely character when she makes friends with several people then turns around and acts like she couldn’t care less if they died as long as Kakeru was okay. Or, ya know….the whole razor blade in the tea thing. Or the ‘freeing Liselotte knowing she’d likely kill everyone’ thing.
As for the ending, while I also find the manga’s to be a bit of a cop-out, they did much better with their finale than the anime did.
In the anime, everyone basically gets killed, including Yuka, because Yuka did the aforementioned stupid thing. Misuzu, in an effort to give them both one big boost of power to create a bit of hope…..has sex with Kakeru. It makes in context, oka—no wait, it really doesn’t………Anyway, it works, I think, but it doesn’t matter, they both die, then it’s revealed that the previous episode was a vision of Kakeru’s Eye of Aeon IE a dream sequence IE bite me.
Lots of stuff happens, but the main point is, Superbia, a ‘bad guy’ whisks the survivors, which at this point is Misuzu, Kakeru, Yuka, Shiori and Kukuri, away to a carbon copy of their world where the Red Night no longer exists and their fallen friends are alive again only it’s not really them because this is an alternate universe.
Also, god only knows what happened to that world’s versions of Misuzu, Kakeru, Yuka, Shiori and Kukuri.
Yuka also magically turns into a non-psycho bitch again because reasons.
Happily ever after, I guess….Except for the black moon reappearing, but only visible to Kakeru, I think. That implies that either Liselotte or someone else is controlling a Red Night in their new world, which is sequel bait that went nowhere.
In the manga, the one who frees Liselotte is Yukiko, not Yuka. However, she didn’t do it on purpose like Yuka did. She was lost in grief over the death of Takahisa, so she took it upon herself to kill Liselotte, believing doing so would end the Red Night while getting her revenge in the process.
Yukiko and the other fragments are exactly who Liselotte needs to absorb in order to break free from her crystal prison and destroy the world. She didn’t know that because the Black Nights have never heard of talking to people before. (Yes, sit down and give all the exposition after several people have died in this pointless battle. You honestly could’ve just told them to stay as far away from this person, who is imprisoned and can’t move, as possible whenever the Red Night shows up, but trying to kill them and not explaining why and eventually even leading them to Liselotte, who appears to them as an innocent girl wrongfully imprisoned, begging for their help, that’s a good plan too.)
Yuka tries to save her, but gets absorbed herself.
After a giant exposition dump via Shiori who might as well not even be here besides to give aforementioned exposition dump, and a pep talk/love confession to Misuzu from Kakeru (in lieu of the nonsensical sex scene) they decide to fight on.
The manga does a much better job at handling and actually concluding the fight between Misuzu and Superbia/Misao Kusabake. It was an intense and awesome battle.
Similarly the actual battle between Kakeru and Liselotte was impressive as well. In the end of that battle, Kakeru gives his soul to gain the power to defeat Liselotte and let everyone else live. Then Kukuri gives up her mortal being through her angel thing to become a god in order to bring save Kakeru’s soul, bring everyone who died back to life and fix the world. Then her angel thing sacrifices itself, somehow, to become the god in her stead since she could not live a life on earth as a god, and it departs from her.
Then they all live happily every after….for real. No magically reappearing black moon. It’s over.
This was like a conga line of cop-outs, but I prefer it to the anime’s ending. It makes a little more sense in a narrative standpoint than saying there are six identical worlds out there with the only difference being that one of them has a Red Night on it then switching to a backup version of the world. And it’s better to have Yukiko, Saeko and Takahisa come back to life instead of opting for alternate versions of them. I always felt like that was not only a cop-out, it was downright disrespectful of the characters from their original world. They lost their lives, but it’s okay. We have extras.
But it doesn’t end there.
After the Red Night ends and everything gets fixed, their lives go back to normal, basically. However, the battle with Misao left lasting damage on Misuzu anyway, and she felt obligated to return the five swords of the Kusakabe clan back to her relatives. To do that, she, I suppose, would have to leave town indefinitely.
In the course of the manga, she and Kakeru had developed a romantic relationship. He even confessed to her, without prompt, that he loved her. She tries to convince Kakeru that they can’t be in a relationship with each other (for….reasons?), but he convinces her to be with him, to let him be her reason for existing since she believed she had lost hers once Misao had fallen. She happily accepts, kisses him and I guess they leave to live in the Kusakabe clan household forevermore.
No mention of Yuka at all. Just their happily ever after.
You might think that since the Yuka thing and the ending were essentially fixed as well as I could hope that my overall opinion on the manga is exponentially better than the anime.
Well, yes and no.
While I am grateful that they wrote a better ending and didn’t bitch up Yuka, the overall experience of the manga felt very rushed and like several characters were sacrificed in the overall story for the sake of holding the focus on Kakeru and Misuzu.
Truth be told, while I think both Kakeru and Misuzu are at least as good if not better than their anime counterparts, I couldn’t help but feel robbed when it came to damn near anyone else.
Takahisa never gets a time to shine. In fact, he’s relatively useless over the course of the story because his fire never seems to do anything to the enemies. He exists, has some scenes and lines, then Saeko dies, he goes nuts, though not nearly to the level he does in the anime, and then he’s mercy killed by Yukiko after he begs her to do so, realizing his powers will never be under control again and he’ll just burn down everything around him.
I was massively pissed when we were in the middle of an unrelated battle with Misuzu and Kakeru vs. Superbia only to have Yukiko pop up out of nowhere to announce Takahisa was dead and she had been the one to kill him.
We get all of three panels explaining that Saeko was killed by a Black Knight who attacked the school, Takahisa went out of control in grief and Yukiko had to end his life. The next chapter gives us a more proper flashback to Takahisa’s breakdown and subsequent death, but that’s a far cry from the anime where we basically had an entire episode dedicated to this heartbreaking collection of moments, which started with the out-of-nowhere death of Saeko as Takahisa and Yukiko were enjoying a nice walk and conversation.
Not to mention that, while Yukiko and Takahisa are clearly on good terms in the manga, they don’t give off the air like they’re nearly as close as their anime counterparts, which makes Takahisa’s death have less of an impact. I’ll give Yukiko’s deep slip into despair after this death a pass since it is still a harrowing thing to have to kill a friend no matter how close you were to them.
Yukiko also fared well in the personality department, but I feel like handing the reigns to her on releasing Liselotte wasn’t very fair. It makes sense, but it still irritates me. Though I guess her being absorbed by Liselotte is much better than her being viciously torn apart until they get her fragment out, causing this previously immortal being to finally die.
I feel like we didn’t get as much badass Yukiko as we should’ve, which is a shame because that was one of the best parts of the anime.
Even though Kukuri’s backstory was spotty and confusing at best in the anime, if my memory can be relied on at all, they do much worse with manga!Kukuri in that they just flatout don’t give her one.
They spend a good amount of time focusing on how similar she looks to Kakeru’s dead sister of the same name. She denies being her and additionally has a last name that doesn’t match Kakeru’s. After that, they just don’t talk about her. She’s there, she does stuff, and she’s a linchpin in saving Kakeru’s soul but we don’t really know who she is or why she looks identical to Kakeru’s sister as well as shares her name.
It’s a giant blank spot and gaping plot hole that begs to be filled.
Kukuri’s VN backstory could be an entire arc on its own, and it seems to mostly explore aspects of the story that neither the manga nor anime really explored fully (And revisiting a clip just for the sake of reference, the anime’s version is still insanely confusing to me.) Since I already said I won’t really talk about VN stuff here, I’ll just leave this where it is.
Shiori’s role was also greatly diminished. Outside of the big exposition dump late in the manga, she’s just kinda hanging around and observing things. Like Kukuri, she does some things sometimes, but she doesn’t have much of an actual role.
My memory of my opinions of Kakeru alone in the anime are a bit foggy. I remember that he didn’t much bother me, but he also wasn’t protagonist of the year or anything particularly notable because of his perpetual dedication to Yuka the crazy lady and the yawn-worthy parroting of the typical ‘I will protect you. I’ll always protect you. I’ll always be with you’ yadda yadda spiel.
In the manga, he is determined to get the power to save people he cares about, such as Yuka, which stems from a deep-seated feeling of guilt for not being able to save his sister from committing suicide. Throughout the manga, he’s less focused on being a knight in shining armor and more of being a warrior who has a duty to protect his loved ones.
That being said, he is still pretty cut and dry. There still fails to be anything truly memorable about him as a character besides his cool eyepatch.
Even though he and Misuzu have a much more fleshed out relationship in the manga than Kakeru and Yuka did, in either the manga or the anime, he recognizes her as the warrior she is and almost never steps in to fight her battles outside of one time where it was pretty much necessary.
The line about being her purpose for living in the end did irk me a little, but I feel like that was less sexist and more overly cheesy. That whole scene was melodramatic, to be honest.
Speaking of Misuzu, I think she remains a pretty good character in both versions. I was a little annoyed at the amount of times they gave her, for lack of a better term, moe face whenever she and Kakeru were having a moment. It’s such a stark contrast to her normal face and mannerisms and feels really weird. I also don’t much care for her decision to not start a relationship with Kakeru just….because.
Some people might be miffed about Kakeru and Misuzu getting a happy ending together, but the alternative is him getting together with either psycho!Yuka or blandwithnopurpose!Yuka, and neither of those are appealing to me.
I feel I should talk about Yuka some more because I have to admit that, as a whole, blocking the anime from my mind, it IS a big issue that someone supposedly so important to Kakeru gets glazed over and almost entirely dropped by the end. The most focus she gets is in the first chapter and that’s just because she and Kakeru are literally the only characters who have been introduced by that point.
She uses her powers a grand total of once, and Misuzu seems to recognize that they’re at least fairly powerful, then she spends a couple chapters recovering from her energy drain, then she floats around for a bit, then she gets absorbed by Liselotte.
The target of Kakeru’s attention, affection and dedication is almost entirely shifted to Misuzu rather quickly.
Make him and Yuka romantic interests or not, I really don’t care. Make her a substitute sister, I really don’t care. But I do care about her being so boring and non-existent. How can I give a single damn about her being absorbed by Liselotte when I barely get to know her?
The absorption of Yukiko and Yuka should be as devastating to us as it is the remaining fragments, but I couldn’t find myself caring much at all.
I find myself similarly disappointed in both the anime and manga. While the manga has a much stronger and less cheap ending and a much saner non-psycho Yuka, it also falls very short of giving us the character development and plot elements that we needed to make a full story, or to simply make us care as much as we should. The manga would have benefited greatly from being at least two volumes longer.
It was a better overall experience, but it still wasn’t a particularly great one. Shame, because I still feel like the framework could make for a really awesome manga or anime. It’s just not there.
Being fair, from all I’ve read on the Wiki, I think the anime is a more loyal adaptation of the VN source material’s most canon storyline, but sometimes being more loyal to the source material doesn’t always make for a good series.
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